In Arthur Koestler’s novel Darkness at Noon, the Stalinist Rubashov’s prison neighbour responds to the news that Rubashov has fallen foul of the regime by tapping out “Bravo. The Wolves devour one another.”
Some of us may be forgiven by having the same feelings with regard to the turning of the woke witch hunters on Sinn Féin. Some of that party’s erstwhile allies are now scouring Twitter for evidence that Brian Stanley is not the only SF TD who might have offended against the woke party line that applies to all who sup with the devil of political correctness gone mad.
The latest target is Dublin Bay South TD Chris Andrews because he “liked” a tweet regarding transgender athletes, back in February. The tweet in question referred to a New Zealand male who had decided to announce his transition to be being a female and who subsequently won two gold medals in weight lifting at the 2019 Pacific Games.
The tweet which landed Andrews in hot water read: “Imagine if your daughter sacrificed her whole youth to get to the Olympics to win a gold medal and then this guy grows his hair long, says he’s a woman, and shows up and mops the floor with her.”
The other tweet which he liked suggested that perhaps there might be a separate category for such athletes rather than risk the potential eradication of women from elite sport if transgender athletes become more common. “Definitely should have a transgender category. You could obliterate women from sport if this becomes more frequent.”
To any reasonable person both these tweets are entirely sensible. But common sense has long fallen by the wayside in the increasingly bizarre discourse being shaped by well-funded and well-connected lobbyists who want to insist we all ignore basic biology and the evidence of our own eyes.
There is a growing – but little publicised – discourse within sport in regard to transgender athletes, who are, in fact, ‘mopping the floor’ with their female competition. This clearly undermines and makes a mockery of fairness in many disciplines where males enjoy a considerable physical advantage, as indeed do physically more powerful males over other males in the same sport.
Hence grading, and hence the common sense approach whereby elite women athletes compete against one another in athletics and team sports rather than against males. But now that includes males who decide that they are women even when they have not undergone surgery and have the advantage of the same physical make up as they had as males.
The reductio ad absurdum of this would be if the Dublin footballers or the Limerick hurlers or Irish rugby team all, or in part, decided to “transition” and play in the women’s Gaelic football and camogie championships, or the women’s rugby world cup.
So, Andrews was only responding in the way that the vast majority of us respond to hearing tales of what amounts to blatant cheating. But of course like all too many who are set upon by the woke NKVD, he quickly recanted when confronted with his grievous errors.
Instead of having the courage of his convictions, Andrews apologised for his misdemeanour and referred to his “having since learned a lot about transgender participation in sports, and the tenuous claims of unfair disadvantage which are not backed up the most recent academic research.”
That is not, in fact, true. Sports science would suggest that even with the requirement to chemically reduce testosterone, transitioned male to female athletes still have a significant advantage.
It is common sense backed by science, but of course we would be setting the bar a bit high expecting either from the fanatics who drive this “debate” and sniff out divergence from the dogma.
Andrews also promised to “reach out” to the Transgender Equality Network Ireland whose Chair, Sara Philips, said that she was “very disappointed” at Andrews’ boldness. TENI by the way is a registered charity/NGO which according to the last information available employed five people. It is presumably funded to a large, and most likely in the main, proportion by the state. We don’t actually know because in its 2019 Report TENI declared that due to “circumstances beyond our control” they were unable to complete their audit. Well, try that with the taxman or at the AGM of your local club or trade union branch.
For opportunistic reasons, Sinn Féin’s political enemies are jumping on the bandwagon following a similar apology from Laois TD Brian Stanley over a perhaps silly but hardly “homophobic” tweet about Leo Varadkar.
Those in Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, and even in organisations that probably think themselves safe from being censored, might take some moments to consider how the Shinners landed in this spot. Not only has that party fallen over itself to ingratiate it with whatever rainbow coloured anti racist carnival float happens along, but have deployed their own unique ways of silencing more traditional voices.
It is a certain fact that some, and possibly most, of those who lighted on Meath Sinn Féin activist Christine O’Mahony, were also among those who supported the bullying of Aontú leader Peadar Toibín and his supporters for not towing the line on abortion on demand. O’Mahony ironically probably thought she was supported by the commissars as they also took umbrage at Stanley who they don’t like anyway. Judging by tweets in support of O’Mahony there appears to be somewhat of a hemorrhaging of woke persons who have realised that perhaps Sinn Féin is not their thing after all.
The Sinn Féin TDs like Louise O’Reilly who were among those with the backroom enforcers who persuaded Stanley to abase himself, were never traditionalist republicans in the first place and openly identify with the extremists who have their party TDs under the microscope at present. They and those in the other parties who they agree with on all this nonsense probably think they are safe.
They would not be the first people who dallied with totalitarian obscurantism to discover that no-one is immune once the lunatics decide that you have transgressed. For the moment the rest of us can grab the popcorn and enjoy what hopefully becomes a vulpine feasting of the sanctimonious on one another.